Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education, had a rough time at Bethune-Cookman University where she was speaking to the graduating class. DeVos was booed loudly throughout her speech.
Weeks ago, the school announced that Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, would be the commencement speaker, and there was immediate backlash with a petition calling for the university to rescind its offer. Many graduating students turned their back to her in protest.
Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers told the Daily Beast that by bringing in Betsy DeVos the university was honoring her status and not her actions and that is why she received such a cold and loud response.
In a statement following Monday's ceremony, DeVos described "the ability to converse with and learn from those with whom we disagree" as one of the hallmarks of higher education.
DeVos has also angered the African-American community with her commitment to school choice and vouchers.
In her keynote at the Daytona Beach university, DeVos repeatedly praised the school's founder, Mary McLeod Bethune, as someone who "refused to accept systemic and repulsive racism", and had "the courage to change old ideas".
"I am grateful for the opportunity to speak with you, and particularly with those who have disagreed with the invitation for me to be here", DeVos said.
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About 60,000 signatures on two petitions were delivered to school officials on Tuesday objecting to her appearance at the university.
The university's president, Edison Jackson, interrupted her speech with a warning to students.
President Donald Trump's nomination of DeVos, a Republican fundraiser with no classroom experience, was so controversial that Vice President Mike Pence had to cast a tie-breaking vote for her Senate confirmation.
Historically black colleges were founded prior to 1964 when segregation prevented blacks from attending most colleges and universities in the country.
DeVos has continued since then to cite historically black colleges as alternative options for quality education, her stated goal for promoting the use of tax money for private schools. "Never forget that. Through serving others, you can extend that legacy".
"We should aspire to make all of America's institutions mirror that model - a singular focus on the unique needs of students", she said.
On Wednesday, DeVos pressed on with her speech, despite the boos.